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The New York Time reports that President Obama has his circle of five pastors who offer him
moral and spiritual guidance.
Given his history of being burned by Rev. Wright it is not surprising
that the President is hesitant to hitch his wagon too close to any one religious
horse. So for the time being, instead of a congregation he has created a cadre of spiritual advisors. The group is a good one: Ottis Moss, Jr, Joel Hunter, T.D. Jakes, Kirbyjon Caldwell, and Jim Walis. I have had the pleasure of meeting
three out of the five and know
them to be good and honorable Christian men.
But men and Christian are the descriptions that stand
out. Perhaps I might humbly
suggest that President Obama may wish to expand the circle a bit and listen to
religious women, and even some who are non-Christians. The advice and spiritual succor our President will get from
this other half of the world’s population may provide him with the holistic
healing for himself and our nation that he and all of us are seeking.
Here is my list of five:
Sister Joan Chittister, Benedictine Sister and spiritual
sojourner for justice and peace in the world.
Ruth Messenger, President of American Jewish World Service
who brings the prophetic Jewish tradition to the entire globe and to America.
Ingrid Mattson, President of the Islamic Society of North
America and a profound and compelling interlocutor for the Muslim faith.
Susan Thistlewaite, Professor and former President of Chicago Theological
Seminary and a fearless fighter for women’s rights inside the church, the home
and the public square.
Emilie Townes, Professor of Religion at Yale Divinity and a
compassionate intellectual powerhouse for African American religion from the
What religious women or men do you think should be offering spiritual advice to the President at this time?